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Jolie Kitzke talking to a resident

Meet the Team Member: Jolie Kitzke

By Senior Living

Jolie Kitzke is the Director of Nursing at the Grand Hills Castle and is quickly coming up on five years with Castle Senior Living. With over 25 years of experience, as a nurse (LPN and RN) and director, we thought we’d sit down with her and learn a bit more.

What do you enjoy most about being Director of Nursing?
The Castle Senior Living team! We have great administration, and the owners are very much involved. Everyone wants to do what is best for our residents and are open to new ideas. If things aren’t working quite right, we try different things to ensure we are doing our best to make sure our residents get the best care. I can talk to anyone on the team and know that I’m heard.

Castle Senior Living truly does a great job serving their residents and communities. I’ve been around a long time and worked in a variety of places and I’m proud to be on this team.

What made you want to go into the field of nursing?
When I was growing up, I lived with my grandma every now and then. My great grandma lived with her and had home care nurses at the time. That was intriguing to me as a child and I loved what they did for her. I think that is what inspired me to become a nurse.

What told you that serving aging adults was the right fit for you?
Throughout my 25 years of experience, I’ve always served the geriatric population. That is where my heart has always been. I like to work with vulnerable populations who can’t always speak for themselves. I enjoy being a critical thinker and try to figure out the puzzle – especially when residents can’t always tell us what’s going on. It is much different than seeing a 30-year-old who comes in and tells you my ear is hurting because my tooth is infected. Instead, you really need to dive in to figure out what’s going on.

What are you most passionate about professionally? Personally?
Professionally, I like spending time with our dementia residents. I enjoy the challenge and try to put preventative measures into place. If we can address issues right away, we can then prevent larger, more critical issues from arising. I have a sharp eye for catching and addressing things before people show signs of illness.

On the personal side of things, I like helping people who are having a hard time. My grandson is autistic. He’s doing great, but in the beginning it was difficult. That has resulted in a passion for this area and being very involved with my family – especially as a grandmother.

Do you have any secret talents?
Not sure if this qualifies as a secret talent, but I’m a stage 3 uterine cancer survivor. I fought that battle about 6 years ago. Still doing good!

I also enjoy thrifting and antiquing.

The Grand Hills Castle Expansion: A Construction Update

By Senior Living

We are excited to share the latest progress on the highly anticipated 55-unit senior apartment addition at Castle Senior Living. As we continue to build towards our vision of a comprehensive continuum care community, we want to keep you in the loop on the exciting developments taking place at The Grand Hills Castle in New Berlin.

At the core of our expansion goals is a commitment to providing residents with larger units, a myriad of amenities, all at a more accessible price point than ever before. The 55 new units will feature a variety of sizes and floor plans, ensuring each resident finds a living space that suits their preferences and needs.

The Grand Hills Castle expansion is not just about adding units; it’s about enhancing the overall lifestyle for our residents. As a reminder, here’s a sneak peek at just a few of the lifestyle amenities taking shape:

  • Underground Parking/Storage: Convenient and secure parking options for residents.
  • Rooftop Patio & 3rd Floor Party Room: A picturesque space for social gatherings and events.
  • Coffee to Cocktail Bar: A cozy spot for residents to relax and socialize.
  • Movie Theater: Enjoy the latest films in a comfortable and intimate setting.

We are pleased to report that the elevator shaft is in, lower-level parking is complete, and the first-floor concrete work is well underway. The building remains on schedule for completion in December 2024. The picture to the right captures a moment of progress as the crane sets concrete pre-cast planks in place over the parking area.

We are eagerly counting down the days until we can unveil this extraordinary addition to The Grand Hills Castle community. This expansion is not just a building; it’s a promise of an enriched and fulfilling lifestyle for our residents.

Stay tuned for more updates as we bring this vision to life, ensuring that The Grand Hills Castle remains a community like no other.



Castle Hospice: Wrapping our Arms Around the Family

By Senior Living

When should someone you love engage hospice care?

For Christine Pfankuch (who goes by Chris), Hospice Care Coordinator at Castle Hospice, this was a question she once didn’t know how to answer. Twelve years ago, her 87-year-old father was suffering from Pulmonary Fibrosis.

“As a former caregiver for my dad, I didn’t understand what hospice was at the time,” Chris recalls. “I was waiting for someone to tell me when he was at that point.”

“Instead of introducing hospice as an option, his physician suggested he be admitted to the hospital to see if something else was going on. Those were agonizing days for my dad…and for us. Finally, the hospitalist told me she wasn’t sure my dad would make it through the weekend. I was so grateful for her honesty so we could move forward with making my dad comfortable. Unfortunately, by that time we only had two days with him.”

The disappointment stayed with Chris after her father’s passing, but it also called her to action. The former sales, marketing, and financial services professional with years of service experience embarked on a new career.

“My personal experience caring for both of my parents provided me with a wealth of knowledge. It stirred something within me that encouraged me to make a change in my career and become a resource for others. I want to help others navigate the options so they can make the best decisions for their loved ones.”

Chris joined Castle Hospice in September of this year. Being local and family owned, a member of the hospice care team is available to answer questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While services may be provided to anyone living in the Castle communities, we are partnering with other communities in this area. Chris clarified, “We go to wherever the patient calls home. We are an extension of the family and/or facility’s care team.”

“The first thing we do is listen and understand what the patient’s and family’s needs are. We learn about their loved one and what their goals are – physically and beyond. We want to help our patients live fully and include as many personal loves as we can in their care plan.”

 The Castle Hospice care plans are individualized and tailored specifically to a person’s likes and needs, whether it is playing a particular card game, listening to a specific musical artist, or enjoying a special treat or snack. There are hospice agencies that often have a large caseload of patients and are unable to spend individualized time with them. At Castle Hospice, Chris says, our caregivers are involved with the patients and what they enjoy.

“It’s wonderful to witness the connection our nurses and nursing assistants develop. We are in hospice for a reason and it’s because this is truly meaningful work. You can definitely see that in the care we provide.”

Chris once felt that bringing up the word “hospice” meant she was raising the white flag and giving up on her dad. This is a common myth that she is working hard to dispel. “I wish I knew then what I know now. Hospice would have been a welcome relief that would have given us so many more joyful moments. There is no shame in educating yourself. Call and inquire. Be persistent. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. That’s where I missed out.  Hospice can be a wonderful extra layer of care and service, and who wants to miss out on that? It can be a relief to families to get some assistance, help and support. What we do at Castle Hospice is wrap our arms around the family.”

Breaking Ground for Expansion at The Grand Hills Castle

By Senior Living

A few weeks ago, Castle Senior Living marked a momentous occasion as we broke ground on our highly anticipated 55-unit senior apartment addition. This addition will be licensed as an RCAC (Residential Care Apartment Complex) and is an expansion to The Grand Hills Castle in New Berlin. This exciting venture represents a significant step forward for us, and we are thrilled about the future prospects it holds for both our residents and the community at large.

With this expansion, The Grand Hills Castle will become a comprehensive continuum care community, offering Independent Living Plus, Assisted Living, and Memory Care services under one luxurious roof. Our vision goes beyond traditional senior living; we aim to create an upscale, resort-like community that prioritizes engaging programs, fine dining, health and wellness, and quality care when needed.

Larger Units, More Amenities, Lower Starting Price

At the heart of our expansion goals is a commitment to providing residents with larger units, a myriad of amenities, all at a more accessible price point than ever before. This makes The Grand Hills Castle a truly unique and special place to call home. We understand the importance of creating an environment that not only meets but exceeds the expectations of our residents.

The 55 new units will feature a variety of sizes and floor plans, ensuring that each resident finds a living space that suits their preferences and needs. Emphasizing a connection with nature, every room will boast large, beautiful windows and private balconies, offering panoramic views of the natural wildlife that surrounds our property.

A Lifestyle of Luxury and Comfort

The Grand Hills Castle expansion is not just about adding units; it’s about enhancing the overall lifestyle for our residents. The community will feature state-of-the-art amenities and community spaces designed for aging in place:

  • Underground Parking/Storage: Convenient and secure parking options for residents.
  • Rooftop Patio & 3rd Floor Party Room: A picturesque space for social gatherings and events.
  • Coffee to Cocktail Bar: A cozy spot for residents to relax and socialize.
  • Movie Theater: Enjoy the latest films in a comfortable and intimate setting.
  • The Aviary Lounge – Social Club: A vibrant space for socializing and community engagement.
  • Fitness Room & Yoga Studio: Promoting health and wellness for all residents.
  • Piano: A touch of elegance and musical enjoyment.
  • Dining Lounge with Outside Dining Patio: Culinary delights in a beautiful setting.
  • Outdoor Walking Paths: Stroll amidst nature in our thoughtfully designed paths.
  • Fireplace Lounge & Library: A cozy retreat for relaxation and reading.
  • Salon & Spa: Pamper yourself with our on-site salon and spa services.
  • Outdoor Music Gazebo: Enjoy live music in the open air.
  • Anticipated Grand Opening: End of 2024

We are eagerly counting down the days until we can unveil this extraordinary addition to The Grand Hills Castle community. The Grand Hills Castle expansion is not just a building; it’s a promise of an enriched and fulfilling lifestyle for our residents. We invite you to join us on this exciting journey as we set new standards for senior living.

At Castle Senior Living, we are dedicated to creating not just a place to live but a place to thrive. Stay tuned for more updates as we bring this vision to life, ensuring that The Grand Hills Castle remains a community like no other.

Grand Opening for Birchrock Castle Expansion!

By Senior Living

Castle Senior Living is excited to announce the grand opening of our Birchrock Castle Expansion on October 19, 2023, following an extensive remodeling and expansion project.

A public celebration will take place on Thursday, October 19th, 2023, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at 210 McDivitt Lane in Mukwonago.

The community now includes an additional 20 units for the licensed CBRF in an array of room styles from private suites to efficiency and one-bedroom apartments. Residents can choose a new, larger unit that fits them best. The original building is also being remodeled to specialize in Memory Care and designed to showcase the beautiful wetland preserve surrounding our 17-acre property.

When: Thursday, October 19th from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Where: 210 McDivitt Lane, Mukwonago, WI 53149

Who:  All are welcome to join us for the celebration

Details: A ribbon cutting ceremony with the Village of Mukwonago will take place at 3:00 p.m.  An open house will follow with drinks, appetizers and tours of the building and grounds until 6:00 p.m.

Expansion of Birchrock Castle Completed

By Senior Living

The expansion of Birchrock Castle is completed, pending a final inspection! We hope to have approval for occupancy in September.

Birchrock Castle looks like a brand-new building. We added an additional 20 units to the CBRF. These new units will allow Castle to offer an array of room styles: private suites, efficiency apartments, full one-bedroom apartments, etc. Our residents will be able to choose a newer and larger unit that fits them best.

We also remodeled the current building and added a back element to the building. Previously, it was a horseshoe shaped building, but with the addition it has been converted to a full circle. This allows residents to walk in the hallway, get exercise and makes it more memory-care friendly. Additionally, it is more secure and residents can enjoy an interior courtyard. We will be planting in raised garden beds so residents may enjoy spending more time outdoors.

The Birchrock Community wraps around some wetland preserves, so there are beautiful views almost as if you are living with nature. Nearly every new unit has a private walkout patio to easily access the outdoors and enjoy the nice summer days.

Reach out today to reserve a spot! Contact Executive Director Candy Mings to sign on to our waiting list at or 262-363-9295. You can also schedule a tour here.

Embracing Serenity and Comfort: Castle Hospice Introduces Reiki and Aromatherapy for Patients

By Senior Living

At Castle Hospice, our mission has always been to provide unparalleled care and support to our patients during their end-of-life journey. We take pride in continuously exploring innovative ways to enhance their well-being and bring comfort to their lives. One of the ways we do this is through Reiki and Aromatherapy. As one of the only hospice providers in the area to offer Reiki therapy, we are excited to embrace a holistic approach to help our patients find peace, tranquility, and serenity.

The Power of Reiki Therapy

Reiki is a gentle, non-invasive energy healing technique that has garnered widespread recognition for its profound effects on the mind, body, and spirit. At Castle Hospice, we have carefully integrated Reiki therapy into our care programs to bring forth a sense of calm and healing energy for our patients. Our trained and certified Reiki practitioner works closely with each individual, creating a serene and nurturing environment that encourages healing of the whole person.

Benefits of Reiki Therapy:

  • Pain Relief: Through Reiki, our patients may experience a reduction in pain and discomfort. Reiki may provide them with much-needed relief, especially for those dealing with chronic pain conditions.
  • Stress Reduction: Our Reiki sessions are designed to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and alleviate anxiety, allowing our patients to find solace amidst the challenges they face.
  • Improved Sleep: We understand the importance of restful sleep. Reiki has shown promising results in improving sleep quality, ensuring our patients receive the rest they deserve.
  • Enhanced Emotional Well-being: Reiki assists our patients in processing emotions, offering them a profound sense of emotional support during this vulnerable period.
  • Heightened Spiritual Connection: Many of our patients find solace in the spiritual aspect of Reiki, allowing them to cultivate peace, acceptance, and a deeper connection with their inner selves.

Aromatherapy: A Fragrance of Comfort

At Castle Hospice, we believe in the power of fragrance to evoke emotions and create a nurturing atmosphere. Aromatherapy, which harnesses the essence of natural oils, serves as another pillar of comfort in our care. Through the thoughtful use of essential oils, we aim to provide our patients with an enhanced sense of well-being and tranquility.  The essential oils we have selected have been heavily researched to ensure quality, non-reactivity with medications and terminal diseases and to maximize the benefit for the patient.

Benefits of Aromatherapy:

  • Mood Elevation: Lavender and orange are just two of the essential oils known for their mood-enhancing properties. Our aromatherapy sessions may uplift the spirits of our patients, fostering a positive environment.
  • Alleviating Anxiety and Depression: We understand the emotional challenges our patients may face. Aromatherapy can help reduce feelings of anxiety, agitation, and depression, offering emotional relief.
  • Pain Management: Some essential oils possess analgesic properties, which may supplement effective pain management solutions.
  • Improved Sleep Quality: Lavender, vetiver and cedarwood have been found to improve sleep quality, allowing our patients to find assistance in experiencing restful sleep.

Embracing a Holistic Approach

By introducing Reiki therapy and Aromatherapy, Castle Hospice is fully committed to embracing a holistic approach to end-of-life care. These therapies not only assist with the physical symptoms but also cater to the whole person – the emotional, spiritual, and psychological needs of our patients.

Our goal is to promote comfort and dignity to help our patients live their lives as fully as possible through end-of-life. As we continue to evolve and grow, we remain steadfast in our mission to serve our patients with the utmost care, love, and respect throughout their journey with us.

Call us today at 414-930-4432 to find out more.

Caregiver Showcase: High School Students

By Senior Living

Here at Castle Senior Living, we have hired several fabulous Mukwonago-area high school students to work as caregivers at Birchrock Castle. These young people bring positive attitudes and smiles to work each day, and residents have embraced them as welcome additions to our team. The five teens recently shared about themselves and their roles with us.

Hailey Graul, 17, hopes for a career in nursing someday. She enjoys her position particularly because she loves making a positive impact and “being able to put a smile on residents’ faces.” Sage Kaiser, 18, aims for smiling residents as well: “It is important to me that each and every one of our residents feels important and loved every time I am working.” After high school, Sage plans to pursue a degree in occupational therapy, specializing in work with the geriatric population and/or stroke victims.

Rylee Radtke, 18, has been touched by the impact she’s been able to make, on both the residents and their families. When a resident passed away, Rylee found out that she had talked to her family regularly about Rylee. Says Rylee, “Seeing the family so grateful and appreciative of the love I had for the resident filled my heart. I want to keep making that impact where others can feel happy, loved, and appreciated.” Rylee is on track to achieve this goal in her desire to become a nurse anesthetist who works on army medical bases.

For aspiring forensic nurse Emily Graber, 16, the residents at Birchrock Castle make her job enjoyable. She says, “The residents always make me laugh, and they are genuinely the best. Each and every story that the residents tell me is amazing and hilarious.” Sage echoes the connections with residents as her favorite part of the position. She believes “they are so wise, and we can learn a lot from them and their experiences.” Future nurse Rylee Georgenson, 17, describes the residents as very kind and cheerful, saying, “I am always excited to come in to see my residents.”

If other young people are considering careers in caregiving, Hailey recommends having “patience and a want to help people.” Emily encourages individuals to especially consider work in memory care, saying, “Working at Castle Senior Living has taught me that caring for dementia patients is hard but totally worth it.” Sage shares that “the field is so rewarding, and you know that you are making a difference with your work.”

Rylee R. has discovered that a caregiving position can help build confidence and teach how to better engage with people—but most importantly, in such work, you can “fulfill a desire to help by meeting unique, amazing people” and make “a wonderful change” in someone’s life. And finally, Rylee G. offers some inspiring advice: “It is worth it! … I don’t feel like I am working. I feel like I am spending time with family. If you are doubting, make the jump and try it. You won’t regret it.”

Castle Hospice Pet Therapy

By Senior Living

Castle Hospice recognizes the benefit of emotional support that therapy pets can provide for our patients at end of life, and how that contributes to overall quality of life. Although many types of animals can be trained for therapy work, dogs are the most common in most settings. Unlike a service dog, who is not to be pet while working, a therapy dog’s main job is to be pet and enjoyed by those around them in a safe and trained way.

Liza Falk, our Hospice Spiritual Counselor and Bereavement Coordinator, and her dog Poe have completed their training and testing requirements to become a registered pet therapy team.  We are very excited to announce that Castle Hospice is now able to offer animal assisted therapy for Castle Hospice patients! Liza and Poe have already started bringing joy and comfort to those we serve.

In the hospice setting, individuals are often no longer able to respond as they once did to verbal stimulus, and having the tactile engagement with a properly trained animal can allow them to engage in another way. Liza has witnessed that petting Poe has calmed restless individuals. We’ve also seen individuals who were mostly non-verbal begin to engage in conversation with him. Others may miss their own dogs and pet therapy serves as a way to connect back to their memories and stories. For individuals who are hesitant to greet a dog, he will perform tricks, and often makes people laugh.

A therapy animal is an animal who has been found to be medically fit, and then certified through an oversite agency (such as Alliance of Therapy Dogs, Therapy Dogs International, or Pet Partners etc.).  The animals are trained in a variety of settings in order to react appropriately to differently abled individuals who reside in a variety of settings and may have a variety of needed medical equipment or mobility needs. Once trained they are tested extensively prior to being allowed to perform therapy visits.

If any registered pet therapy teams are interested in volunteering with us as we are hoping to continue expanding our Pet Therapy Program, please contact Liza at or Yvonne at 

Deficiency Free State Survey at The Grand Hills Castle

By Senior Living

We would like to announce and celebrate that The Grand Hills Castle had a deficiency free state survey!

This survey was conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and specifically the Division of Quality Assurance. This division conducts both announced and unannounced surveys of assisted living facilities in Wisconsin to ensure that state licensure/certification and home and community-based services (HCBS) requirements are met.

The surveyor evaluated The Grand Hills Castle’s performance and compliance with applicable laws and standards in the areas of resident rights, program services, nutrition and food service, physical environment and safety, medication, and staff training.

To find out more information about these surveys please visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website.